Good morning all!

More photos and another update from Tom! The photos above look like Vermont, don’t they? You can check out the weather in Qufu anytime. Now, here’s Tom’s report:

We just finished with our Welcome Banquet. Kids recited the Li Bai poem and sang "By the Waters of Babylon" for our hosts; Li Haiqing, Liang Meiling and their staff in the International Programs Department of Qufu Teacher's University.

This is such a great place for our students. The interaction between Chinese students and our students is just so much easier and more productive when we are based on the campus than if we were in a hotel in the city. The discussions of various aspects of Chinese culture that we had talked about in class are exemplified here in living color. Tom

It is so nice to see pictures of the kids! As mentioned a couple of days ago, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the show these kids created and will be performing throughout China, Inner Mongolia, and Vermont. Tom has sent an “introduction” that is being read prior to each performance that shares the story of “Joe Meets Jazz.” Here’s what Tom has to say followed by the Intro piece:

[ Below is ] the piece that we are having translated into Chinese, as well. This will be read prior to each performance to give people a preview of the performance, to give them the story in a short form. Tom


Our performance is about jazz. Jazz is a form of music that began, grew and flourished in America over that last 100 years. There are many different kinds of jazz and many styles of music that have influenced jazz. Jazz is based on self-expression — on the idea that a musician can express his or her thoughts and feelings freely and effectively through innovative music.

The story of this play about jazz that we have created just for you is this:

    A man named Joe finds a trumpet as he’s walking home one day. He starts to play it. He plays a classical piece because he is a trumpet player who knows every style of music except jazz. Then along comes a man who offers Joe a job. Joe is excited because he hasn’t had much work lately, but he soon discovers that the job he’s accepted is to play in jazz concert. He panics!

    Then in a dream Joe is visited by the angel or spirit of Jazz and his three helpers. They promise to teach Joe about jazz so that he can succeed in his concert. They take him on journey through the history of jazz stopping in different time periods along the way to collect what he needs to understand and play jazz.

    Join Joe on his journey and hear jazz music develop in America from late 19th century slave songs to the very modern improvisations of the late 20th century. You’ll hear Ragtime, then the Blues; you’ll hear Dixieland music, then Big Band Swing. You and Joe will then learn about Bebop jazz which came before Cool, Modal, Funk and Latin jazz. Finally you’ll hear Free Jazz and end with Joe here in Qufu at a World Jazz Festival — just after Joe emerges from his dream with a new love for jazz and an ability to play it.

Thank you.

This is such terrific story and the kids do a magnificent job of sharing the history of jazz, performing some incredible music, and entertaining the audience with “top shelf” acting. We should be proud . . . and we are!

Now, If you’d like to learn to read a little Chinese while we wait for the next report from China, here is a little interactive lesson for you at Mere China. It’s kind of fun.

The group will be in Qufu until Friday, when they pack up and head off to their next adventure. We are looking forward to the pictures of their first performance.

If you haven’t looked through the Interesting Links page, please do so. Many sites offer links to other sites that will keep you learning about and travelin

Friendly reminder: The Journey East group is twelve hours ahead of us. If you are reading this in the morning, the group is sleeping. If you are reading this in the evening, the group is well on their way to tomorrow’s adventure.

g through China. I warn you to pay attention. There may be a quiz at the end . . .

See you tomorrow!

ps. Coming soon: We’ll talk about Chinese money and what it’s worth in American dollars.